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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  September 10, 2011 3:00pm-4:00pm EDT

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programs online at up next on booktv, john farrell recounts the life and career of clarence darrow. the author examines the defense attorney's many noted cases which include his representation of tennessee teacher john scopes. his personal life is marked by about of depression and his legal career was almost ruined by an indictment by los angeles jerry. john farrow speaks at politics and prose bookstore in washington d.c. for just under an hour. ..
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we are really happy to have you here. i wanted to do this introduction very much, because i was a great admirer of your book on o'neal, and i can tell you from having read jack farrell's look on clarence darrow, it is another book worth reading that helps us understand part of our legacy in america in a very turbulent and special time. you know, we think of darrow often defined by the movies. there is spencer tracy and in an herat the wind and we know about the scopes trial and there is orson welles as darrow in compulsion. we all know about leopold and
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loeb, but would you have done is, in both the combination of journalism and the kind of current work you are doing at the center for public integrity, it helps to serve as a perceptive and artful biographer. darrow's principles and passions at times caused him to compromise and violate runcible said he believed and you captured that with some empathy and psychological understanding of human failings. when you go through the book and you read it, you run across characters we admire or find that we would like to have dinner with or be in a carpool with like justice brandeis, emma goldman who was a critic, arthur garfield hays, roger baldwin. these were heroes of my time
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because they were founders of the aclu. and many others. one is lincoln steffens and it he read the book carefully, you will find that jack is really influenced in part by lincoln steffen's wonderful autobiography. so i came away today because this is not only bastille day. this is also the day that sacco and vanzetti were executed, so my what if it is, what would have happened if darrow had been their lawyer and had not been rejected by the sacco and vanzetti defense team which thought he was too much of a chicago midwesterner for this new england elite crowd. is the result might have been different, but at any rate let us welcome jack farrell.
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[applause] >> it is really nice to be introduced by david, who actually gave me great insight for the tip o'neill book. he was a wonderful help. i came a little bit early tonight so i could meet -- and make sure the bookstore was passing into great hands and i was assured by meeting them and talking to them that it is. you really are a wonderful community of people and i think the great thing about politics and prose is that we can continue to belong here and we can continue to show up and continue to pay a little bit extra for books than we would amazon, but do you know what? you can't meet david on amazon and you can't come out on a night like this on amazon. we need great bookstores and great independent bookstores and i'm very proud as i said with tip o'neill which was 10 years ago to be reading it at politics
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and prose. 100 years ago this fall, clarence darrow stood on a downtown los angeles sidewalk and watch the police seized seize his chief investigator caught in the act of bribing a juror. a few weeks later, darrow himself was indicted on two counts of bribery. franklin county investigator agreed to testify in return for favored treatment and immunity from the state. he swore that darrow had ordered him to pay $4000 to jurors to agree to vote not guilty. darrow was at the height of his fame one of america's foremost trial lawyers on his career careened off-track in southern california. staggered by his shame, he left his wife one rainy night for the apartment of his mistress. he had a revolver in one pocket and a whiskey bottle in the other. he said down at a table, round secular table underneath the hanging unshaded lightbulb and he vowed to kill himself.
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they are going to indict me he said come i can't stand shame. fortunately for us she talked him out of it. darrow went on and created an american archetype, the advocate for the common folk. hooking his thumbs in his vest or his suspenders, regarding the jury from the cascading shock of hair, speaking with plain but emotional conviction of the nobility of man, the frailty of mankind in the threat to liberty posed by narrowminded men of wealth and their legal guns for hire. his words continue to resonate today. this is one of my favorite darrow but tell me they doesn't remind you of a certain era that we are living in now. [laughter] with the land and possessions of america rapidly passing into the hands of the favored few, but thousands of men and women in idleness and want, with wages constantly tending to a lower
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level, with the knowledge that the servants of the people elected to correct abuses are bought and sold at legislative calls and the bidding of corporations and individuals, with all these notorious evils sapping the foundation of popular government and destroying personal liberty, a rude awakening must come and if it shall come he would warn, when you look abroad over the ruin and desolation remember the long years in which this storm was rising and don't lame the thunderbolt. it was quite a show. in the days before radio and motion pictures the legal clashes and play the role of mass entertainment. is unusual for his courtrooms to be packed with lawyers off-duty judges newspaperman politicians a local bishop and the hallways outsized spectators trying to get an all to see darrow close for the defense. at times a mob of thousands was built through the corridors down the stairs and out into the yard to surround the courthouse that
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raised latter ladder so they could listen in the windows. in lectures and in public speaking darrow affected a humble awkwardness. in court, simplicity to endear him to his audience. he might start with his arms folded, tapping his gold spectacles on his shoulder, his brow contracted and thought. often he would lean on the rail is it to take the jurors into his conference and he would. >> very very lowly until the jurors in the back row would have to lean forward because they didn't want to miss what he was saying. and then all of a sudden he would shout and he would point at the prosecutor and he would accuse him of all sorts of evil wrongdoing. his voice would turn harsh and his jaw muscles with titan and he would swing his arms and then the storm would pass and the son would return and jurors would relax and darrow would be genial, gauging, lightening the mood with a wisecrack. he was a very very witty man. he never just the jury he said.
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he talked to them. his appeal to juries were all about context when the judges and the prosecutors of victorian america knew what they were there for. they were there to exact vengeance and safeguard property and propriety. but darryl believed, and this is revolutionary that given the opportunity and a skillful enough invitation could be persuaded to look past the legal particulars to judge a defendant in the context of the situational factors of behavior, background. he sought to make even the most hideous of crimes that he represented some hideous defendants, comprehensible. he would stand, slouches shoulders and talk quietly and hardly mentioned the facts of the case at all. with a great illustration he would talk about human beings and the difficulties of life. his utility of human plan, the more forced -- misfortunes with a chance that landed him in this courtroom. he would try to make the jury understand not so much the case as the defendant.
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and it was not unusual in the late 19th in her late 20th century for lawyers to take many hours spread over two or three days to get the closing argument in a significant case. in the leopold and loeb case in chicago in 1925 darrow spoke for three days. without notes. a marvelous display of intellect and concentration and focus. it was more than just a tactic. it was his creed. he was a determinist. he didn't believe in free will nor good and evil nor choice. there were no moral absolutes, no truths, no justice. there was only mercy. we are all poor blind creatures he said bound hand and foot by the invisible chains of heredity and environment doing pretty much what we do in a barbarous and cruel world and that is about all there is. he had no faith in god or churches and he won notoriety in the jazz age as the country's most prominent and outspoken atheist.
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he built an entire moral code around life's points and the comfort in the tolerance that human beings can offer to their doomed fellow travelers. he was a practicing defense attorney, trial lawyer and it is time he rescued -- represented gangsters, psychopath drunk drivers rum runners, yellow journalist union goons crooked politicians and greedy corporations and many a scorned woman like emma the socialite who smuggled handgun into court. she shot her philandering husband in the midst of the divorce proceedings. you have killed him set a shop clerk. i hope so, said emma. [laughter] darrell darryl could not resist that case. the wise crass -- wisecrack. she was guilty of contempt of court he told the jury that meeting the classic definition of chutzpah there'll convince the jury to have mercy on the widow and he got her off.
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they just could not convict a woman in chicago for achieving -- shooting is cheating laos. the movie chicago is patterned in part on clarence darrow. al mir had it coming. give him the old razzle-dazzle and he. there was a notorious rick who professed pleasure from the seduction and the act and he used sex as well as a narcotic. he relied on physical nearness to escape the emptiness and the spiritual isolation of his life said his friend and lover mary parton but gelda talked them out of killing himself for he was often lonely haunted by death and prayed to melancholy. told there was the only feeling in the world that can make you forget for a while. and work with samantha time for darrow as well. even as i have fought for freedom he said i have always had a consciousness that i was doing it to keep myself occupied so i might forget. every man has his dope said
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darrow whether it was religion, philosophy, creeds, whiskey cocaine, morphine, anything to take away reality. he was a byronic hero intelligent, captivating, jaded, moody a renegade with little regard for rank or society. he scorned society and its norms and would employ any trick to save a client. to him the world was equally on moral above is the low set of progressive era reformer a friend of his so why be squeamish about it in a criminal case? in the course of his six-year career derwood taylor testimony pay payoff witnesses and jurors and he would be tried twice for jury bribing and narrowly escaped prison. do not the rich and the powerful bribed juries, intimidate and coerce judges as well as juries? do they shrink for many weapon he would ask? and yet he had an affable compassion for those who faced loss or despair or persecution.
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his strong way emotional nature was goaded by a sub ringing. his father was a book loving owner for burr for nature shop and abolitionist and free thinker who states his family in and the values of liberty and equality and sought his son to suspect and challenge authority. and compassion play the role of the unifying theory in a sub three's chaotic universe. the bench was invariable filled with men in overalls and women huddled in shells and threadbare clothes yuan face waiting for darrow. the less charitable pal described as the types one would expect in a fortunetellers parlor. including halfwits who made in god could not teach anything but darryl would emerge at the end of the day and see the long line, side and offer an understanding smile. sunday dinner would grow cold as he sat with a subject for an hour or more patiently hearing the facts of the case and offering advice on the poor man's troubles and depending on how he was fixed at the time a third or more of darryl's
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cases -- and he was never wealthy man. he spent much of his money on wind, women and song and the rest he wasted. [laughter] the publisher e.w. scripps said everything about darrow suggests a cynic everything but one thing and that is an entire lack of real cynicism. he was thomas jefferson's air, the foremost champion, the personal liberty of his time. when he was a boy daryl liked to say the hired man had dignity. he dined with a family of the employer and he shared their pew on sunday and he could court the bosses daughter. there were no banks, no big stores very little money and nobody had a monopoly of riches or poverty. the community was truly democratic. but the nation's founding principles were stretched beyond recognition and the roar of the industrial age. a shrewd and lucky few made great fortunes. carnegie and steel, morgan and
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finance, rockefeller in oil and they attributed their success to god, hard work and -- and they found in the writings of herbert spencer is the assurance that the poor deserve their lot. is natures way of furthering the race by weeding out the week. they order their managers to lower costs and when workers organized unions, private armies of local militias were summoned to break up the strikes and demonstrations often with violence and rifle fire. according to the courts the workers only right was to negotiate man-to-man with the employer and to take himself elsewhere if the terms were not to his liking and nobody married the bosses daughter. atop a social order the robber barons wanted their aristocratic aspirations and just up like 18th century european royalty had spectacular parties and hired seminaked chorus girls to jump out of cakes. the historian c. vann woodward wrote they were uninhibited lee flamboyant in their misconduct. drooling tobacco juice and eating and drinking in
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incredible amounts. they sometimes seemed devoid of shame and manners and morals and the ethics of let me. and of course, he professed independent men squeeze huge subsidies from the federal government. the railroads alone for $350,000,000.242000 square miles of land and they control the livable establishment after the supreme court where the justices were diligently redefining bill of rights is a guarantee of property above all else. as a supreme court justice david brewer of the time said, from the time in earliest records when he took loving possession of even the forbidden apple, the idea of property and sacredness of the right of its possession is never departed. the love of acquirement mingled with the joy of possession is the real stimulus to human activity. the jurors who resisted, brandeis, homes and darrow would be honored by history as great dissenters and mediocrity would
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be forgotten but that is very little consolation to the working men and women of the time. by his 40th birthday in the 1897 the great economic relief valve the frontier was gone and in its absence said historian frederick turner, heightened the sharp contrast between the traditional idea of america's land of opportunity in the land of the self-made man free from class distinction and the existing america, so unlike the ideal. at the time of his trial for bribery supper he was america's top labor lawyer. he was in los angeles that year to defend james and john mcnamara to union terrace who conspired to bomb los angeles times in 1910 killing 20th sins -- innocent newspaperman in the explosion and the subsequent and for now. darrow defended america's labors and woodworkers in colin hard rock miners. he faced down the robber barons and the gunman and seeing how they corrupted juries and judges
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and he had no illusions in the fall of 1911 in los angeles. driving a jury to save a man's life is mr. schroeder in her diary he would not hesitate. he survived and emerged a better man and a finer lawyer. he had been on the road said frances wilson and he knew what it was to suffer. the cynic is humbled wrote the muckraking journalist michael steffens, the man that last sees. he faced his secure is in los angeles and made eloquent pleas and he won a not guilty verdict in his first trial and a hung jury in the next. on the ashes of better deal gerald ford's grandest of america's legal careers as the champion of personal liberty and defender of the underdog and he became said lincoln's death and the attorney for the. he had no choice. broke and disgraced darrow returned to chicago and took the cases others would not touch. there was isaac banda black man
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accused of the brutal rape and murder of a young white nurse. communist and anarchist snared in in the reactionary fervor world war i and the red scare. frank lloyd wright and the cause of sexual freedom and the architect was pursued by federal prosecutors for violating the man act, which made it a crime for unmarried couples to cross-state lines. today we recall darrow's plead against the death penalty for the liza nathan leopold and richard loeb, the killers who murdered a chicago boy to demonstrate their intellectual superiority by committing the perfect crime. it was an especially despicable killing but darrow's call for mercy saves and of course we remember darrell for the scopes monkey trial. in tennessee a year he fought for scientific freedom and battle for those who -- battle those who would inject division and ban the teaching of evolution in the public schools. stymied by a hostile judge darrell called the lead prosecutor three-time
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presidential candidate william jennings bryan to the stand and of course their fabled clash was immortalized in inherit the wind. when the monkey trial was over however darrow was the most famous lawyer in the world. he was 68 short on money yearning for retirement and in bad health. he could've commanded huge fees on wall street or represented rich divorcees in chicago and instead, and i think this really indicates is true glorycoming to the case of -- and african-american physician and moved into a white neighborhood in detroit. maybe you've seen the pictures. was a summer the klan march down pennsylvania avenue in washington with their hoods and their cloaks. thousands of them and in detroit a mob that gathered breaking the windows of the sweet house threatening its inhabitants, his family and friends and while defending that home they fired into the crowd killing one man and injuring another on a september night in 1925. darrell went to detroit in defended the suites and two ruling trials that spanned seven months for a token fee raised by
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the naacp. he won the case and was staggered by a heart attack in the summer of 1926. the great theme of darrow's life the long war he fought in his march through courtrooms and cases was the defense of individual liberty from the unrelenting crashing and personal forces of modernity. no air of the world had ever witnessed such a rapid concentration of wealth and power darrell warned and history furnishes abundant lessons of the inevitable result. all the greatness of america come off the marble as well, all her wonders are a monument to the wisdom of liberty but our liberty produced prosperity in this prosperity looks with doubting eyes upon the mother that gave it breath and threatens to strangle her to death. americans in darrow's time needed a sustaining and in the embrace in the defense and supportive lives underdogs darrell helped create one. he gave it a narrative voice and kept it supplied with
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sympathetic characters and he forged his own place in american folklore. if the underdog got on top you would probably be just as rotten as the upper dog dare like to say but in the meantime he needs friends more than the other fellow. americans of his arabs drew strength watching their rage against the machine and they can again today. there is something grand and epic in his fierce resistance to those oppressive forces which in varying guises the rebels of his ancestry the abolitionists of his boyhood in peril freedom in his lifetime and posed a threat to liberty today. the marks of battle are all over his face said the journalist henry mencken after watching darrow at the monkey trial. has been through more wars than enrichment of persons who most of them were struggles to the death without codes or quarter. is the always one lincoln asked? actually know this cause seems lost among us. imbecility as you says lives on.
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they do welk lincoln but they are not as safe as they used to be. [laughter] [applause] >> thank you so much and for lifting us as well. again i want to thank c-span for being here. we are going to begin the question hour and one of the things that stands out, so please come to the microphone with any questions that you may have -- is that in our history then, and you are talking about the last conflicts in labor and all of that, and as we know, there was often division created along racial lines by the powerful interests, and one of the things that darrow did was he did his service as a citizen
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not only with the cases he tuck, but he was willing to go to the meetings and serve on the board of the naacp, and that is also part of that sense of service that he had bet may have come from the genes of this abolitionists father, but whether he believed determinism or not he made that choice and it was a terrific choice. please begin with the questions and if you are comfortable, tell us your name. >> my name is dr. caroline coughlin. i'm her position but i used to be a lawyer and darrow has inspired -- inspire generations of lawyers. that was a wonderful talk. you said that darrow threw himself into his work, and the wine, women and song to escape from something. was he depressed? >> he had a black of faith in an
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afterlife, a spiritual life. he had been brought up a free thinkers which is what people at the time are called who are agnostic or atheist and he had a great fear of death too is interestingly his father who was a cabinet maker in a small ohio town also become the town undertaker. [laughter] because he worked with would so he made the coffin, so darrow worked in the woodshop with his dad and up against the wall were a bunch of coffins and he had to clean the chickens off the hearse when somebody in the town died. and his mother died when he was 15 and darrow interestingly enough in his autobiography said his mother died when he was a very young child. i don't call 15 very young. his brothers and sisters at the time described darrow is a man doing a man's job in the wood shop. so, one thing i think scared all the children in the family but especially clarence was that as his mom was dying she told them because again she was a free thinker as well, it's all a
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dream and someday the illusion will pass for you just as it is passing for me. so we didn't have faith in the afterlife. he was very realistic about the inhumanity of man to man and so, it was basically his compassion that got him day by day through life. he was prone to bouts of depression. i didn't try to make an analysis in the book. interestingly enough at one point in his life he was very second he took injections of narcotics for nine months, and that led me to sort of wonder whether or not when he talked about dope he wasn't just being -- he was being specific about something that affected him but again there was no proof about that and i didn't want to lead you want as a reader to think that i knew more than i did. >> thank you. >> good evening. excellent talk. my name is neal newman. at a phonecall this evening from a good friend of mine who just finish her book.
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he was up in maine, an excellent trial counselor and he liked your book very very much. in fact i just purchased it. but he raised to think somewhat of a monday but i think practical question. how is it that after these number of years, two books have just come out on darrow and if i may also follow it up, how do you feel about publishing your book the same time as another book on the subject? >> obviously i would much rather had the field to myself. [laughter] sharing a review is not as much fun as getting a good review. the reason is very interesting though. about 10 years ago there was a man named randy teaches in minnesota and he is a darrow autograph letter collector. he went to darrow's granddaughter before she passed away and said, you know do you have anything from your grandfather? she said well i don't know, let's go down in the basement look so they brought him down to the basement and they found a box that said christmas ornaments. sure enough inside this box
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where the thousand letters to and from darrow that he had not given to the library of congress or irving stone who wrote the first biography back in 1941. and so, these letters eventually made their way to the university of minnesota and minnesota in minnesota opened into scholars last summer so that was i think the reason that the tube was wrote books at the same time. the other book is very different from mine. at his 300 pages. is much more analytic. it is written by an academic rather than a journalist. minus morro bay narrative. i have three chapters on the trials in idaho and a chapter on leopold and loeb and a chapter on the scopes monkey trial and he bridges them all together into his analysis of darrow's leaves. so i think the wall street journal referred it and said it is a matter of taste away like. d. one and analytic book or a more narrative? [laughter]
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anyway. >> i will pass those comments onto him and catch it on c-span. thank you very much. >> thank you. >> my name is jessica spiegel and i am retired from -- that i was originally probably and wanting to become a lawyer because i've read the biography at the age of 12. and i loved your talk today. but, what i wanted to ask was if you could talk a little bit about how your view of darrow compares with that of stone's and his book and also perhaps with darrow's autobiography? >> irving stone's book is fantastic. i could never in a lifetime host to be as talented as irving stone. he wrote about vincent van gogh and he wrote about all these great historic figures including clarence darrow. but sometimes it's a great graphical novelist and a great
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novelistic louder for, stone, and one of the things i try to do in my book respectfully of irving stone is point out the places where he made it up because he didn't really know. no, no i mean the other handicap that stone had was he was working with the cooperation of dodaro family so whenever he tried to get into the question of mr. says or was he really guilty of bribing a jury in los angeles, the family would push back so his hands were tied. times were different then. you just didn't go into the detail of the persons personal life in the way today's biographers do. that all said, the reason i did the book about clarence darrow was when i was 12-year-old someone gave me a copy of irving stone's clarence darrow to the defense. i know i was 12 years old because it impressed me so much that i printed my name and the date inside the cover. i still have the vote.
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i have carried it with me for longer years than i care to talk about. so it is a marvelous book and i would recommend if you just want beautiful poetry and only the really wonderful warm where the side of darrow, then you could certainly read it. darrow's autobiography is a different book entirely. he was a muckraking journalist himself. he is very skilled as you might think from his speech is a very skilled writer as well and the autobiography is worth reading. it is more, it is called clarence darrow the story of my life, but it is really more clarence darrow, my philosophy. he doesn't really give you any feel for the great cases and he doesn't give details or revelations and he does talk at length about where we fit on this graveyard landed and how basically all we are very lost sailors on a raft in a tossing sea and the best thing we can do is reach out and give each other comfort. if you really want to get a
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sense of this philosophy it is a really good place to go. >> thank you. >> hi. who i am if somebody was not willing to reveal how long i have been a big fan of clarence darrow. my question however is, and getting by the obvious know, are there people today who are clarence there are like who are exemplars of this man who is in, who is in his world? >> yeah. actually there is somebody here tonight. i don't know if he is around. paul, are you here? too embarrassed? i think the defense bar takes up capital punishment cases in this country is as gutsy and rave and noble is clarence darrow. [applause] they are. i did a series of stories and i got to meet some of them. they work for no money and
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hopeless cases. society turns against them. in this room as much as we might love to read about clarence darrow really don't care about their work. we don't care about these individuals who are being executed and yet knowing that they are going to lose time after time in texas and illinois and indiana and virginia, they go out and they fight this good fight and to the best they can. as far as nobility, sure, i think that is one reason we don't have a famous great attorney like clarence darrow any more. you tend to get wealthy and as a trial lawyer when you win your first big case, and maybe tara would have ended up this way too but you don't end up representing the attorney for the. maybe was the fact dodaro fell so far in los angeles and had to come back that led them to take a series of cases and is 50s and 60s that we remember him by. i think success store -- spoils great lawyers.
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>> my name is matt harrington. i think the innocence project is someone representing oj and the work he does in capital defense who is living up to that high standard. i was just going to say i would -- i'm a lawyer and two books one was irving stone's book and very much styles himself as darrow successor. in dealing with darrow as there is this aching desire i have always had to find some place where he feels bad about driving those jurors. [laughter] and i'm wondering if anywhere in that christmas ornament box you found even a hint of that. >> in fact just the opposite. i found them in those records and other small catch of letters that didn't make it to the library of congress and ended up
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at austin university because they were thought to be too sensitive at the time. he actually wrote a telegram at the time to his brother and it said cannot make myself feel guilty. and it is a great argument before the supreme court on the case of eugene debs the railway worker union leader. darrow said 300,000 american men walked off the job across the country. i don't care what the law says. i don't care what the legislators in illinois or congress say that cannot be against the lawless law of three and a thousand americans decide that is wrong and their life has to be -- the fumblings of men in the legislature of the writing of laws were really the things that could be dashed away and brushed away in case of the
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greater morality and the motive was everything to him. if a defendant was caught red-handed with a gun in his hand but had a great motive, then darrow could find a way to justify that and almost all crimes he looked at in that manner. so i mean yeah he read it and you get there and you know you say wow that is pretty extreme but you know it is good for our society that we have extremist like that i think. >> it is a broad dark line between -- and bribing a jury. >> it is. >> my name is noaa. thank you for the wonderful talk. i wanted to touch on your expertise as a journalist and your experience and ask you to comment on darrow's relationship with what is often described as the leading journalist says that era, walter lippman who probably know a very well. lippmann expressed a different view than the one you just
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drive. [inaudible] who should set aside democratic dogmatism that men aren't the best judge of their own interest and instead you know realize that it is up to another passage and up to men of letters and airy addition do you know, to decide what the best interests of those men are. i'm wondering if you could engage with that expression. lippman is it broad guy like darrow and has a particular strength in liberal democratic thought in the 1920s and see how darrow would respond to it? >> i don't think he was an intimate. i do know at the time of the scopes trial, there were erudite intellectual liberals in new york that dot darrow was absolutely the worst person to be handling this case. darigan a founding attorney for both the aclu and naacp which by
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itself you think would deserve a biography. and, but he was never what you think of as a classical clinical liberal. he broke with woodrow wilson. he broke with fdr over the new deal. he was more of a libertarian and many people will say that once you got into the 20th century his time had passed and he was living this 19th century liberals in the 20th century. and so for that reason and others, they didn't want arrow to be the champion on something like evolution. i think lippman probably would have felt the same way but darrow was a very common man. there are letters in which people talk about the fact that he had dirty fingernails and egg on his ties and he always looked like he is slept in his suit. i just don't see that fitting in well with the kind of intellectual liberals that lippman represented. >> thank you.
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>> i have one. i seem to be the very odd man out in this gathering and my history, as they came to -- came to birth and an era and time where, if you didn't have it ph.d. in science, you are doomed to be a lowbrow and a
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ne'er-do-well. so, notwithstanding the fact that i liked literature and so juan, my dear parents forced me into a science career, costing me five bucks a year, courtesy of the city college of new york. so, my impression of clarence darrow is almost entirely different than the collective impressions here.
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i thought of him as a sort of a bad guy who was a tool of the richer classes. he was the one that took down scopes who was the one who had truth on his side. so, the scopes trial in my early thinking should have been reversed. >> do you want me to talk a little bit about scopes? >> his trial?
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well, i would just add one thing. if i were the lawyer for the prosecution to the scopes trial, i would say, there are so many evidence contradictions and the theory of evolution that it should the immediately thrown out of court because the science is junk. [laughter] >> okay. >> an example, the trilobite existed for some billions of years as far as we know, and that dinosaurs were out of business in 75 million years.
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and how does somebody who believes in the regular evolution explained that? >> well, it was a much clearer battle in 1925. america had just come back from world war i. the world have been shaken by the savage nature of world war i, and there was a fundamentalist revival in america and people like williams jenninf bryans who was the prosecutor in the case, interpreted darwinism as the cause for prussian militarism. so there were many good reasons to fear this way that the new science was changing and you also had einstein, you had marks, you had for it. you had women cutting their hair
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and very short skirts. so the 1920s were very rambunctious time and fundamentalism reacted with the idea that what we are going to do is ban the teaching of evolution in the classroom. they never really got down to debating the science and in fact, in dayton tennessee where the trial took place the judge refused to let darrow put any of his scientific experts on the stand. and that is why to salvage his case, he called william jennings bryan to the stand as an expert on the bible. there were too many people in the courtroom. the judge was afraid that the floor was going to collapse. it was a second-story courtroom. you can go there and see it. it is beautifully preserved and in fact they still have trials in that courtroom and so they all went went outside to a platform built under the maple trees in the courtyard and that is where what i called the single greatest confrontation,
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legal confrontation in american history took place with darrow questioning brian about -- very little about science and much more of did jonah really stay three days in the whale? [laughter] how did this make it around before -- dated hop on its tail? he asked these questions to embarrass william jennings bryan and what he did ask prying questions about science, brian was so an educated that he hadn't take that's horrible to look into it and he could answer those questions so to an educated audience and this was the first trial that was carried by radio across the country, to an educated audience they saw brian didn't know what he was thinking about so the short answer to your question is that there really was not a great debate about the science of evolution. it was much more debate about the bible and about science's place in the classroom. >> thank you. >> just one quick question. i was fascinated to see in your
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story oral rogers and i remember him as dazzling criminal defender and he is forgotten today and kind of an odd eccentric. could you speak a little bit about it? >> lincoln stefansson of earl rogers were the two guys i discovered in the research for this book. earl rogers was it you can believe it more cynical than clarence darrow. he was also an alcoholic. but he was probably a greater trial lawyer even then darrow in that rogers took cases and got the guys found innocent. darrow was good at taking hopeless cases is the attorney for the been saving them from the hangman of the electric chair. he never had the record of not guilty verdict that earl rogers did in southern california. and, it was an indication of darrow's desperation because oral rogers was antiunion. it is an indication of darrow's desperation that when he went
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out he hired earl rogers to defend him and earl rogers defense of clarence darrow and the first bribery trial is amazing. i went out and read the 10,000 page transcript of los angeles and interesting enough the law libraries across the street from where "the los angeles times" was bombed. i would look out the window and see where all this happened. but rogers idea was that he was just going to raise so many red herrings. he was going to send up so many skyrockets. he was going to cause amazing circus in the courtroom and by the time the prosecution finished presenting their case the jurors would have no idea what it was all about. [laughter] and that is basically what happened. the prosecutor played right to his hands and tried to bring in tangential matters and rogers would jump up and shout and take them all off somewhere. at one point, they were trying to get a prosecution witness who was being a very good witness and looking directly at the jury and speaking directly at the jury. they wanted to distract him, and
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so rogers would walk around the courtroom and tried to get the guys eyes away from the jury. he was very disciplined and he kept looking at -- rogers would sit down next to the press box and as he was asking questions he would be reading the copy that the reporters were writing and he would reach over and do some editing and stand up and ask these questions. in this case, the witness just would not budge and so rogers went over to daryn said you stand up and walk around and we will see if the two of us can get a look. [laughter] and at that point the prosecutor lost it then stood up and said your honor, rogers and darrow are trying to hypnotize the witness and the idea that in the middle of this courtroom in the middle of los angeles they were some sort of suwannee's and that led into a huge uproar. two days later the prosecutor was still seething and got into another fight. he tried to throw a glass ashtray at rogers across the
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room. rodgers ran over to him and grabbed him and suffered a small cut on his wrist and said, held it up in martyrdom and said your honor i don't deserve this. [laughter] i mean it is just one big circus after another in the prosecution knew what was happening and they couldn't do anything to stop it. in the second trial, unfortunately rogers was an alcoholic and did not show up a lot. in that trial it was a hung jury 8-4 in the jurors believe darrow was guilty. there is a wonderful book called the people versus clarence darrow by a fellow named jeffrey cohan. it was written 10 years ago. is just about the trial in los angeles. if you love earl rogers, that is the book to read. >> are you sure rogers wasn't the model for billy in chicago? >> actually i was simplifying a little bit. billy flynn, the gelda wrote the original play of chicago, she
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based it on, there was a number of these stories like -- he deserved a. >> my real question was, i remember reading about lieberman's book, and part of it he talks about defending the scottsboro boys and i have some memory from that, something about darrow being approached first and not taking the case and i wondered if you had anything -- my thoughts about that and why? >> this happened a few years after the sweet trial and the naacp fellows were feeling a little cocky. when the first reports came in from alabama they didn't embrace the case. they made a severe mistake. they help back. they thought that perhaps the rape had occurred. they thought the defense and offense dents were all ignorant farm boys showing their new york sophistication and they did involve clarence darrow but the
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attorneys from the communist party called clarence darrow and said would you defend the scottsboro boys? darrow said you know, i am the founder of the naacp and i will have to check. so we talked to the naacp and they have course said if clarence darrow is going to go down there and defend these boys he will have to do it for us. so for six months in one of the really sorriest cases in naacp history, they struggle to, with the communist party of america to try to get an edge in public opinion, trying to convince these poor defendants that if you went with us you will get darrow and if you don't you won't. and darrow went down there and this all happened in the summer. he went down there finally in december and met with the defendants and he met with the communist labour party and he said look, we can defend them jointly. i can defend them as individuals the only thing i won't do is, i
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have to have the assurance that i'm going to be able to design the defense. so if what you are asking me is to comment he said i will leave the defendant for you but if what you are asking for me as you are going to design the defense i cannot do it and i cannot put these boys lives at stake for whatever martyrdom you have planned for them because that is better for your political party. and so, he ended up walking away from the case as a whole. and they ended up going with the communist labour party for better or worse, that lawyer that they got was fantastic guy. >> my recollection is that lieberman actually was able to get an agreement. he said no interference. >> but, if you read -- as time went on he was readily frustrated also by their in transitions but that was his excuse. he got an awful lot of flak from
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the liberal community in america which thought he turned on his heels and walked out on the defendants. >> thank you. >> thank you, jack. >> my pleasure. [applause] >> up next on booktv patrick creed and rick newman talk about the rescue efforts in the pentagon following the attack on september 11, 2001. the crashing of american airlines flight 77 caused a fire in the pentagon which local firefighters fought for over 24 hours. this is about dirty minutes. >> the many myths and total lies perpetuated over the years. this is a book for people in learning the truth or at least as much as could be uncovered about both the historical and
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the fictional crockett and how the two often became one. hopefully, readers will gain some new historical insight into the actual man and how he captured the imagination of his generation and later ones as well. so now, a few spoonfuls from crockett, the lion of the west. and the first is just a graph or two from my preface. the authentic david crockett was first and foremost a three-dimensional human being, a person with somewhat exaggerated hopes and well checked fears, a man who had as we all do, both good points and bad points. he was somewhat idiosyncratic, possessed and often unusual
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views prejudices and opinions that govern how he chose to live his life. crockett could be calculating and self-aggrandizing but also as valued and indeed as resourceful as anyone who rode the american frontier. as a man he was both authentic and contrived. he was wise in the ways of the wilderness and most comfortable when deep in the woods on a hunt, yet he also could hold his own in the halls of congress. a fact that distinguished him from so many other frontiersmen. remarkably he enjoyed fraternizing with men of power and prestige and in the fancy parlors of philadelphia and new york are go crockett was like none other, a 19th 19th century enigma. he fought under andrew jackson in the ruinous indian wars only later to become jackson's bitter foe on the issue of indian -- the issue of removal of the
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tribes from their homelands. crockett's contradiction expended the on politics. he had only a few months of formal education yet he read -- he was neither a buffoon nor a great intellect but a man who was always evolving on the stage of the nation and its adolescence, pioneer whose dreams ackley affected a restless nation with the pointed towards the west. perhaps more than anyone in his time, david crockett was arguably our first celebrity hero inspiring people of his own time as well as the 20th century generation. the man, david crockett, may have perished on march 6, 1836 in the final assault on the alamo, but the mythical david crockett now an integral part of the american psyche, perhaps more so than any other frontiersmen, lives powerfully on.
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in this way, his story then becomes far more than a one note walt disney legend, while his life continues to shed light on the meaning of america's national character. a spoonful from a chapter entitled, killed him a bear. david crockett believed in the wind and in the stars. the son of tennessee could read the sun, the shadows in the wild clouds full of thunder. he was comfortable amid the thickets and the quagmires and the mountain bulbs. he hunted the oak hickory, maple and forest that had never felt the next play. he was familiar with all the smells, the odor of decaying animal flesh, the aroma of the air after a rain and the pungent
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smell of the forest. he knew the rivers lined with sycamore, poplar and willow had breached the mountains through steep sided gorges, the strange sounding names many with indian influence like the pigeon, the tellico, the watauga, look who's the, the old days, the wealth, the elk. he sought the dimensions of lakes and streams studded with ancient cypress. he learned that dog days arrive not with the heat of august but in early july when the sure rises and sets with the sun. he carried his compass and maps in his head. he traversed the land when it was lush and the warm times and when it was covered with frost the cherokees described as clouds frozen on the trees. the wilderness was indeed a crockett's


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